As you know, some lawyers just cheat. Some are just ignorant of the law and make mistakes. But others know the law and cheat.
Lawyers who are ignorant about the law need to be educated and warned. But cheaters need to be hammered. Judges who see lawyers repeatedly violate the rules – especially the same rule – need to come down on them.
An appellate court in Florida has made this point loud and clear. Read this excerpt:
“We affirm. We write only to comment that, although not rising to the level of fundamental error, the prosecutor’s closing argument in this case exceeded the bounds of proper argument. Again, we reiterate the admonition of Judge Blue in his specially concurring opinion in Luce v. State, 642 So. 2d 4 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994): ‘Trial attorneys must avoid improper argument if the system is to work properly. If attorneys do not recognize improper argument, they should not be in a courtroom. If trial attorneys recognize improper argument and persist in its use, they should not be members of The Florida Bar.’
If the prosecutor intends to continue to appear in criminal court, we suggest that he view continuing education videotapes on the subject of closing argument to review arguments that should not be made before a jury. If he persists in disregarding the rules of proper argument, he should expect appropriate sanctions.”
I don’t know whether the lawyer who is the subject of these comments is ignorant of the law or is a cheater. Either way, the message is loud and clear.
Thanks to Matt at Abstract Appeal for bringing the case to my attention.